NEW DELHI — More than 8,000 miles from the White House, in a small Indian village ringed by lush green rice paddies, several dozen people flocked into a Hindu temple, carrying roses and strings of sweet-smelling jasmine, uttering prayers for Kamala Harris.
This village, Thulasendrapuram, has a special relationship to Ms. Harris. It’s where her maternal grandfather was born more than 100 years ago.
On Tuesday, Thulasendrapuram, which is about an eight-hour drive from the southern city of Chennai, pulled together in a special ceremony at the main temple to wish Ms. Harris good luck.
Men wearing white dhotis, a sarong-like wrap, and women in bright saris draped Hindu idols with flowers and chanted hymns. As the election began to unfold in the United States, everyone was bubbly with confidence that Joseph R. Biden and Ms. Harris would win.
“She is the daughter of the village’s soil,’ said Lalitha, a housewife, who could barely contain her excitement. “The position she has attained is unbelievable.”
Although Ms. Harris has been more understated about her Indian heritage than her experience as a Black woman, her path to U.S. vice-presidential pick has also been guided by the values of her Indian-born mother and her wider Indian family.
In several big speeches, Ms. Harris has gushed about her Indian grandfather, P.V. Gopalan, who inspired her with his stories about fighting for the rights of Indians to win independence from Britain.
Wearing Coke-bottle glasses and often a necktie, Mr. Gopalan was a career civil servant who may have looked like many other upper-crust Indian gentlemen.
But he defied the conservative stereotypes of his era, lending unswerving support to the women in his family, especially Ms. Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan. She came to America in the late 1950s young and alone and made a career as a breast cancer researcher before dying of cancer in 2009.
As soon as the good luck ceremony ended on Tuesday, villagers laid out a feast of idli and sambar, two South Indian dishes that elders were eager to point out are favorites of Ms. Harris.
The village is already planning big things. One villager said the temple was sure to get more donations, should Ms. Harris win. Another hoped the government would build a college.
“It’s quite obvious that the village people are hoping that once she wins this election she will do us some favors,” explained R. R. Kalidas Vandayar, an elder. “We are hoping the prayers work.”
Prakash Elumalai contributed reporting from Thulasendrapuram.
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